Multiple world champ lauds eliminated Coast surfers
SURFING: They received some praise from six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore but Sunshine Coast's Keely Andrew and Isabella Nichols made early exits from the world tour event at Bells Beach on Wednesday.
The friends were bundled out of contention in round two of the iconic event, amid consistent overhead waves at the 'Bowl'.
Gilmore won their all-Australian three-competitor round one heat with a score of 14.94 points, ahead of Nichols (10.16) and Andrew (9.56).
"It was a tough heat. Isabella is a great surfer and Keely is also a great surfer but I think I just used a little bit more experience, having a lot more heats under my belt out here, to get past those girls," Gilmore said.
It pitched Andrew, the reigning tour rookie-of-the-year, into a do-or-die round two heat against Hawaii's Coco Ho and she was subsequently eliminated 12.14 to 12.00.
Last year's world junior champion Nichols, who received an invitation to compete as an injury replacement for Malia Manuel, fell to American Courtney Conlogue 16.44 to 12.56.
"Isabella, she had a great performance as well,"the victor said.
Fellow Sunshine Coast surfer and men's world title aspirant Julian Wilson is scheduled to get his Bells Beach campaign under way on Thursday, against Hawaii's Sebastian Zietz and Brazil's Wiggolly Dantas.
He is 14th on the season standings after two of 11 events.